Vatican City, May 21, 2010 / 11:08 am
The Christian roots of Europe can “inspire a new humanism,” said the Holy Father on Thursday evening at the concert given as a gift to him by the Orthodox Church of Russia. Europe, he said, needs to "return its soul not only to believers, but to all peoples of the continent."
The concert for Pope Benedict took place in the Vatican, and included works from 19th and 20th century Russian composers as well as a piece called "Song of the Ascension" written by Metropolitan Hilarion, the Russian Orthodox representative present at the concert.
The event was a gift from Patriarch Kirill I to Benedict XVI for his 83rd birthday and fifth anniversary as Pope, which were both observed in April.
The Holy Father welcomed the concert graciously, expressing his "profound gratitude" for the patriarch's gift and saying that music "anticipates and in some way creates encounter, dialogue and synergy between East and West, between tradition and modernity.”